Long-term Care

People who are older and require help with basic tasks of living – bathing, dressing, personal care, housekeeping or preparing meals – are candidates for long-term care services. Long-termCare.gov estimates that as many as 70 percent of people turning 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lives.

Why Would I Need Long-term Care?

Reasons for needing long-term care include:

  • Age. The older you are, the more likely you will need long-term care.
  • Gender. Women outlive men by about 5 years on average and so they are more likely to live at home when they are older.
  • Disability. Having an accident or chronic illness that causes a disability. 69 percent of people age 90 or more have a disability.
  • Health status. A chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure makes you more likely to need care.
  • Living arrangements. If you live alone, you’re more likely to need paid care than if you’re married or living with a partner.

Where can I get Long-term Care Services?

If you have a medical issue or a disability, many long-term care options are available to you. You can get services in:

  • Your own home.
  • A daytime program in your community.
  • A residential setting, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.

In Your Own Home

Given the choice, most people would prefer to live in their own home or with their family. By getting help with everyday tasks, this often can happen. Some types of services you may be able to get at home are:

  • Personal care services — Help with housekeeping, cooking meals or personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing.
  • Medical services — Provides medical supplies or equipment to help you be independent. These might include reachers to help you get things off high shelves or a scooter to help you move around. You also might get nursing care in your home.
  • Transportation services — Rides to medical appointments if you do not have a car or can't drive.
  • Caregiver services — Provides a break and other help for family members who help take care of you.

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A Daytime Program in Your Community

Whether you live alone or stay by yourself when your family goes to work, you do not have to be lonely. If you go to a daytime program, also called adult day care, you can have fun, learn and be with others. You also may get help with some tasks, such as taking medicine.

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In a Residential Facility

Sometimes it’s not possible to live by yourself or with your family. In those cases, assisted living or a nursing home might be right for you. These facilities are professionally staffed businesses that provide different levels of care, depending on what you need.

Assisted Living Facility

If you choose to live in assisted living facility, you will usually have your own room or apartment. You can bring your things with you to make it feel like home. You will usually eat with others. Services might include:

  • Help bathing or getting dressed.
  • Someone to make sure you get your medicine.
  • Employees checking on you to make sure you are doing OK.

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Nursing Home

If your doctor says you need full-time care from a nurse, a nursing home may be right for you. Nursing homes are the highest level of care most people will receive outside of a hospital. This type of care is sometimes called custodial care. In additional to a high level of medical care, residents get help getting into and out of bed and with feeding, bathing and dressing and other activities.

The cost of a nursing home in Texas ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 a month (University of Texas). If you do not have much income or other resources, Medicaid may pay for a nursing home. You can talk to a Texas Health and Human Services employee about Medicaid. You will have to live in a nursing home for 30 consecutive days before you can apply for services.

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How do I Pay for Long-term Care?

Many people think that Medicare will pay for their long-term care expenses, but this usually is not true. Instead, people have to rely on their savings, long-term care insurance or Medicaid to cover the costs.

And while Medicaid pays for the largest share of long-term care services, to qualify your income and assets must be below a certain level and you must meet the minimum state eligibility requirements. To find out if you might be eligible for Medicaid or to apply for benefits, visit the Your Texas Benefits website.

Note: Texas is required by federal law to have a Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. This means that if you received Medicaid long-term care services, the state of Texas has the right to ask for money back from your estate after you die. In some cases, the state may not ask for anything back, and the state will never ask for more money back than it paid for your services.